There are a lot of apps on iTunes that fall into the medical category. Some are geared towards medical professionals while others are intended for the average person. You’ll find those that focus on medical procedures, indicators of illness, OTC remedies, diet, fitness, pharmaceuticals, and more. Many are specialized while others tend to overlap or offer comprehensive information. Some are free and some are terribly expensive. But none seem to be as well liked by professionals, students, and the average user as the free Medscape application created by WebMD. Reviewers have lauded it as the “best medical app” and there are professionals (including nurses and paramedics) that admit to using it in their daily practices. So what is it that’s so great about this app and why does it blow competitors out of the water?
One place WebMD has it right is offering medical knowledge for free, which is probably why Medscape boasts millions of users in the medical community and how it became the most downloaded medical app on iTunes. Of course, it could also be the many useful features it offers. The main goal seems to be providing drug information, including prescription, interaction, and safety facts. It also offers pertinent data pertaining to brand versus generic drugs, over-the-counter versus prescription medications, and even pharmaceuticals versus alternative options (herbal remedies). With information on over 8,000 drugs and the ability to enter up to 30 medications (including herbal) at a time to cross-check indications and potential interactions, it’s no wonder this compendium of drug facts is frequently used by those in the medical community.
But there’s a lot more to it. This app doesn’t just apply to the pharmaceutical facet of the medical field; it also has topical information related to conditions and procedures, complete with tables, protocols, formulas, scales, classifications, calculators, and more. In this arena users will find more than 600 procedural videos to peruse, over 4,000 articles by experts in their fields, and information organized by section (not to mention a directory). In addition, there is a news feature to keep users apprised of the latest goings on in the world of medicine, as well as handy tools for medical students, including activities related to continuing medical education (CME). And the app is updated daily so that users always have access to the latest medical news and changing information (although you can also use the offline features when you don’t want to incur data charges and you lack access to Wi-Fi).
In truth, this app is geared more towards medical professionals than the average Joe, but you don’t have to be shooting for the best healthcare MBA programs to find a reason to download this free app. Anyone taking more than one medication or using both pharmaceuticals and herbal treatments can benefit from the information on drug interactions. And those who download the app can create a save list for drugs they look up frequently, while news items of particular interest can be saved, emailed, and even shared via Facebook. Medscape may be an excellent reference for those in the medical field, but it also provides pertinent information for anyone interested in medical knowledge.
Thanks to Evan Fischer for this guest post. He is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.